UnionMaine

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The Ant and the Grasshopper

I am going to be out of town until the March 4. Please check out some of the past posts.

TRADITIONAL VERSION:
The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building
his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs and dances and
plays the summer away.
Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no
food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Work hard and you will earn your reward!

MODERN VERSION:

A State Employee works hard for a long career, building a retirement, and planning a future by taking less now the plan is to lay up supplies for the future.

The legislator thinks the Employee is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

“Spend money and have fun, why worry?”
Come a bad budget, the shivering Legislator calls a press conference and demands to know why the Employee should be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

The papers, and talk radio, show up to provide stories of the suffering Legislator next to a video of the Employee in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
Maine is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, the poor Legislators can not provide for the public?

The press interviews the Legislators and everybody cries when they say how surprised they are that winter follows summer. “We thought the money would never end.”

Talk Radio stages a campaign to point out how unfair it all is to everyone else.
New stations film people with little health care, and never mention the profits that

Wal-Mart makes by denying affordable health care to their employees and letting the public support the families of their employees. The employees that can not afford benefits on their salaries.

Speeches are given; the Legislature kneels down to pray for the budget, and exclaim
in interviews that the Employee has gotten rich off the back of the Public, and call for an immediate cut in benefits, without admitting they are supporting a tax hike on the Employee. They claim it is to make him pay his fair share. Many of these legislators are the same ones that fought “Fair Share” for non-Union members for years.

Finally, the Appropriations committee drafts the Economic Equity Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer! The same way they have changed the rules on retirement age and penalties. The same way they have already taken TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS from the health care plan in 2008.
The Employee is taxed for trusting government promises and, having nothing left to pay his taxes loses his health care, his home is confiscated by the government.
Out of state right to work money gets a law firm to represent the Public in a defamation suit against the employee, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that George Bush appointed from a list of retired CEOs.

The Employees lose the case.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he’s in — which just happens to be the ant’s old house — crumbles around him since he doesn’t know how to maintain it. The ant has disappeared in the snow. And on the TV, which the grasshopper bought by stealing most of the ant’s benefits and retirement, they are showing a legislator standing before a wildly applauding group of right to work supporters announcing that a new era of “fairness” has dawned in America.

The Turnpike now has a sign reading Tolls $10.00 each stop. Owned and operated by Halliburton. The State Employees have disappeared in the snow.
The Legislators are found dead due to massively overeating of tax money and the
house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote in 2008!

February 22nd, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Uncategorized | one comment

Parable of the Employee and the Legislator

I will be out of town until March 4, please check out some of the past posts and check some of the links I have posted in the side columns.

TRADITIONAL VERSION:
The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building
his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs and dances and
plays the summer away.
Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no
food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Work hard and you will earn your reward!

MODERN VERSION:

A State Employee works hard for a long career, building a retirement, and planning a future by taking less now the plan is to

To read the rest of the story please go to UnionMaine.org

February 22nd, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Uncategorized | no comments

You are invited to dinner


I will try to get in some posts as soon as possible, but my internet connection has been down for days. I use ISDN a technology not in use for the internet for years and only about twice as fast as dial up at four times the cost. The PUC doesn’t regulate DSL, Cable, and there is no DSL or cable where I live. The cable companies don’t take calls from the public. The telephone company has already said they are never giving us DSL because we live in a poorly populated area. You can get DSL in Bagdhad, in Kosovo, Canada, but the local independents don’t have to serve the public.
Enough Ranting.

The budget is hungry. Foster kids have been an appetizer. Crippled and mentally challenged kids couldn’t move fast enough to get away and the Levinson center will be closed. To paraphrase a joke by the head of the appropriations committee in a hearing when listening to tales of broken promises by the State “Didn’t anyone tell you that a promise by the State is worthless?”. Cruel humor in these tough times. You are next.

Coming up is news about the almost certain hit in the health care plans for State Employees.
Ask yourself how much is too much?
Layoffs? Furlough Days? Contracts with no raises, again? I have been writing about this for nearly a year and it is coming our way. In this case I hate to be right.
There are some things you can do. The Union is going to do what they can.

If you are interested in taking care of yourself or of your family leave a comment. Show some interest. If no one cares about this crisis I won’t write about it.

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February 19th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Uncategorized | 2 comments

Something Wicked This Way comes is here now for State Employees.


Something Wicked This Way Comes is a novel by Ray Bradbury. It is about the nightmare carnival that comes to a Midwestern town one October.

Something Wicked This Way comes is here now for State Employees.

Both our friends and our not friends in the legislature are desperately searching for cover. The budget is a mess. They planed on $25,000,000.00 from unspent gift cards just before companies all over the U.S.A. suggested they get a clue.

Bradbury’s book combines elements of fantasy and horror, studying the elements of good and evil, and how they come into play between the characters and the carnival. In this budget I am still looking for the good.

The novel begins on a dark October but my tale begins during a cold February when friends, brothers and sisters on the verge of their next contract find themselves a lightning-rod for political fury. There is a storm coming our way. I have talked with legislators, the public and fellow employees. There is something in the air as if from a distant fire.

Reading the Kennebec Journal or the Bangor Daily News you can discover an editorial saying “lazy employees” “gold plated health care” and cries for fairness. On July 1, 2009 we will find out if the train we heard coming was carrying coffins for wages and benefits earned and promised for decades. We will find out if the “full faith and trust” of the State of Maine is worth anything.

If you look around you can see the carnival of evil being erected as it was in Bradbury’s book. Editorials in papers that claim that Union Employees must give up what they have earned, share the pain, and help carry the load. Nowhere do you see an honest voice standing up to defend good jobs and good benefits as a goal for all Mainers.

The public is being led into a mirror maze where distorted pictures of Union Employees are used to frighten and distract from the real goals. The goal is a race to the bottom in an attempt to have no one in Maine earn a fair wage.

Frightened, our fellow employees want the Union to do something for them and the campaign to convince the public that the hard work and years of promises by the State are just an elaborate stunt by the Union is well underway.

Unless we are active and let Mainers know that we are Mainers too no one will listen as we try to warn them about the dangers of propaganda with no facts.

We know that we are being targeted. We cannot hide from the evil carnival.

As in Bradbury’s work where the carnival preys on the weak for energy, propaganda preys on the uninformed for support feeding on the unhappiness of people, an unhappiness caused by a few seeking to maintain power with no concern for the employees that do the actual work. They attack others by exploiting their fears. Blame the Unions; don’t look at the Billionaire paying fewer taxes than the janitor.

Bradbury’s heroes saved the day by running after their fears and goals in the Mirror Maze. In the same way Union Employees must run into the Mirror Maze and smash the “lazy employee”, “shovel leaner” “over paid” fun house mirrors with the truth that we earn our pay and we earn no more than any employee deserves. We are not stealing from them. Their employers are stealing from them.

Don’t be afraid to say “I am a State Employee”. Be proud and tell your neighbors you work for them and you think they should have the same benefits you do. Ask them if their employer will increase their benefit if yours are cut. No, they should have the same benefits that Congress has, that Dick Cheney has, and that George Bush will have for the rest of his life.

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February 17th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Uncategorized | no comments

How the Democrats can lose

 

February 10. Obama can tie the broom to the periscope. His clean sweep, including the Virgin Islands three delegates that in this close race could actually make a difference.

He is continuing to win caucuses in a landslide in Washington, Nebraska, and Louisiana.

 

I am afraid that the Democrats can still snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. So far any Democrat candidate that doesn’t drool and sit down to a meal of kitten parts on TV could still beat any Republican team in the coming elections unless we become like them. The R’s have so far refused to investigate corruption and war profiteering. Our own Susan Collins doesn’t make a peep when a company making Kevlar helmet liners that don’t meet specifications is awarded a huge contract to replace the defective liners they sold in the first place. They have cut funds for the poor and children. Bush vetoed a bill that would have investigated war profiteering. The R’s long line of hypocrisy, convictions, and their wide stance on so many issues has made the D’s job easy so far.

 

I both applaud and fear the close race that Hillary and Obama are running a race that looks like Obama could come to the nomination nearly even or even with a few more votes yet no candidate will have a clear majority.

What happens if the Clinton juggernaut twists arms and makes deals to get the Super Delegates to vote for Hillary, even if they have to vote against the will of the majority in their own states?

If Hillary wins the nomination by arm twisting the Democratic Party will have lost the high ground and we will have given the R’s all they need. They will be able to claim that just like Bush, she lost the nomination but has had herself declared the winner in a back room deal.

McCain says that another hundred years in Iraq is fine with him so no matter who the Democratic candidate is I will vote for him or her in the hope that this country will get off this road of endless war.

February 10th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Democrats | one comment

Dick Cheney was right.

Send help quickly, I am agreeing with Dick Cheney.

Why is it that Democrats can defend the rights of the poor, criminals, and captured (maybe) terrorists yet have a hate and disgust for the second amendment rights of U.S. citizens? When an armed nut job kills someone or a number of people it rightly makes headlines.

When an armed citizen defends themselves or others it is buried on page ten below the fold. If you told me I would be saying anything in support of Dick Cheney I would have told you to seek help and very strong medications.

Here it is, Dick Cheney got it right.

Dick Cheney signed on to a brief filed by a majority of Congress yesterday that urged the Supreme Court to uphold a ruling that the District of Columbia’s handgun ban is unconstitutional, breaking with the administration’s official position.

Fifty five senators along with 250 House members signed the request for the court to find the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess firearms and to uphold a lower court’s ruling that the D.C. ban violates that right.

Cheney is now going directly against a brief filed by Solicitor General, Paul D. Clement, who represents the government and the Bush administration before the Supreme Court. Clement said that the lower court’s ruling was too broad and could endanger federal gun-control measures.

The government’s position is simply another sell out by an administration that has never seen a civil right that it likes.

A spokesman said Cheney signed on to the brief because “the vice president believes strongly in the Second Amendment.”

The District of Columbia’s position is that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to bear arms only as a collective, civic right related to military service which implies that the government can give or take away the right to be a part of the militia. A retired soldier, police officer, or F.B.I. agent could be denied a weapon.

While claiming to support individual rights the Solicitor General’s argument said the appeals court was wrong to rule that just because handguns are “arms” as defined by the Second Amendment, government cannot ban them. This is more of the Bush administration’s belief that whether it is war or the constitution they are the deciders.

Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President said the brief was “a historical message to the court” that Congress believes the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to possess firearms. A statement from the organization said it is “grateful and fortunate to have a friend of freedom in the vice president.”

Now I am going to sit down someplace quiet and tell myself one thousand times “I did not just say Dick Cheney was right”.

I will be more than happy to act as a character witness at Cheney’s impeachment and war crimes trial. I can say he got one right, …..once.

February 10th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Uncategorized | one comment

Dick Cheney got it right

Send help quickly, I am agreeing with Dick Cheney.

Why is it that Democrats can defend the rights of the poor, criminals, and captured (maybe) terrorists yet have a hate and disgust for the second amendment rights of U.S. citizens?

To read the rest of this post please remember that this blog is moving. Follow this link http://unionmaine.org/

For the rest of the story.

February 10th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Uncategorized | no comments

Do what I say, not what I do

Do what I say, not what I do.

The Republican Party on the Federal level claims the right to lead us all as little children into the garden of moral correctness. Since I am from Maine I have to hold up our Maine Republicans as a warning to Democrats. When Maine Republicans get the chance to hold higher office they seem to just do their jobs, stay married, and leave the interns alone. Stay on your toes Democrats when you see a Maine Republican running for office. Our Republicans seem to get elected, do their jobs, fight with Democrats and go back to being good Mainers when their terms are done. What is wrong with this bunch?

The saving grace for the Dems is Susan Collins who votes against investigating corruption, doesn’t seem to care if our troops get faulty helmets, and refuses to offer protection to whistle blowers. That’s the GOP we won’t have to be afraid of.

Republicans claim the right and the mandate to define family values. Loud are the voices against gay marriage, abortion, homosexuality, adultery, feminism, crime, science, evolution, humanism, and liberalism.

They cry that Democrats have driven God out of our lives. The theme for the last eight years has been a claim to divine guidance. If Ann Coulter is an emissary from God, I for one am looking forward to a very warm afterlife. Just picture Rush Limbaugh as a heavenly messenger spreading Oxycontin in place of blessings. In the same way that Rush claimed that drug abuse demanded punishment, not therapy the rest of the Republican leadership has let down their party.

Henry Hyde wanted to impeach “Cigar Bill” for his behavior but his affair with a married mother of three children gets little coverage in the so called left wing press.

Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, led the charge against the hands on presidency of Bill Clinton at the same time he was having an affair with a congressional aide.

Gingrich tried to rush through a divorce against second wife while she was hospitalized with cancer to marry the aide. Was that compassionate conservatism? Then he cut off funds to his wife and kids. His wife and children had to get charity from a church in order to live.

Bob Barr was a Georgia GOP congressman until 2003 and loud right-to-lifer, but this did not prevent him from bringing his (second) wife to an abortion clinic. What a pain she must have been because he dumped her too for number three.

In Congress, Barr authored the “Defense of Marriage Act,.

Now on this side, the moral leaders, the Republican candidates for president in 2008, Rudolph Giuliani, John McCain, and Newt Gingrich. The score: Five divorces all involving cheating on “holy matrimony”.

Next up the Democratic candidates: John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama are running far behind with no divorces no cheating on spouses. Somebody send those guys some oysters.

The Republicans not satisfied with the lead so far called on Senator David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican to do his part, or was it to use his part? He certainly did his duty for a prostitution ring in Washington, D.C. and for a New Orleans brothel. Those Democrats are going to have to work to catch up.

If you don’t have the ability to cheat on your wife you can try hating gays. Bob Allen, Florida Republican state legislator, was arrested in a public restroom after offering to perform oral sex on an undercover officer. Maybe he was just trying to earn a little extra for his wife and child.

“Wide Stance” Senator Larry Craig, Republican of Idaho was another loud voice against gays in the military and gay marriage. At least he made the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport famous.

State representative Richard Curtis another Republican leading us to goodness by voting against gay rights was caught dressed in women’s underwear when he met a man in a and went to a hotel for oral and anal copulation.

The hypocrisy between the public position private actions is the hallmark of the last eight years. Sex is bad (for you), cheating is bad (for you), being gay is a sin (not for them).

February 7th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Uncategorized | 2 comments

Do What I say, not what I do

Do what I say, not what I do.

The Republican Party on the Federal level claims the right to lead us all as little children into the garden of moral correctness.

Remember this blog is moving.
Please go to http://unionmaine.org/?p=167 to read the rest of this post.

Now go there or your next job will be providing day care to Dick Cheney.

February 7th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Uncategorized | one comment

MSEA Leadership Meeting Best Ever



Sorry for the late post, but if you can imagine it my job has been interfering with my life and my writing. Late or not I don’t want to miss telling you about the leadership meeting. After so many of these I thought I knew the Script. First someone gets up and drones on for way too long and then tries to raise your interest in the newest direction picked by the SEIU or by the brass of the Union.
Not this time! No agenda, no speeches, no big table with the brass behind and above everyone else. The only agenda was the question “What can we do to make this a better Union?” Can you imagine it! The brass wanted to hear from us. We broke into four groups to discuss how to make our Union stronger, how to include more people and what it is we really want. The difference from the past was astounding and we were asked what our members wanted, not asked to fall in behind someone else’s goals and march.

Our members want to let the public know that we respect them and that we are Mainers too.
We discussed how to reach out and change the image of the State Employee that the talk shows have painted for too long. State Employees don’t lean on the shovel, but contractors that the State hires don’t have signs that say CONTRACTOR. The costs for contracting are far more than the cost of a hard working State Employee because we don’t drain out all of the money for profit. But the businesses in Maine don’t want to talk about that either. The corporate tax rate in Maine is among the lowest in the country, and your taxes among the highest. Does that make good right wing talk?

We are growing and getting stronger. You have to know that and the press doesn’t want you to know because Union members vote. There were more young members there than ever before and they are realizing they have to step up and take the place of the long time and long in the tooth activists that have built the Union. I don’t like to admit it, but I keep having those birthdays every year. Helen, the president of the new local 771 was there, members of the community college were there, and looking around you could see hope.
The economy is rough and we have some very tough times ahead and whether we make gains or manage to hold off the worst of what is coming is up to us.

When we elected Bruce Hodsdon as president of the MSEA a lot of people said they expected change, they wanted change. I think they were right and this Union can start on a new road. We need each other. If you have not been involved because you didn’t think you could be heard, that time is over.

Please remember, this Blog is moving to Http://WWW.UnionMaine.Org and we need members of all and any Unions to write articles. If you are not a member of a Union, write in and maybe we can help you to find one to help you.

February 5th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEA Dues, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA contract, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU 1989, msea maine | no comments